26 March 2018

Appstores need a Trial Mode

I've been looking for a while for a Windows-native Twitter client that could sync with my other non-Windows devices (aka "supporting TweetMarker"). I've found one that claims to do that, Tweet It!, but there is a problem: it costs £3.5 upfront. That's a relatively high amount of money to throw down a well hoping that my wish will come true. However, because this feature is so rare, if it worked I'd be happy to pay three times as much, no questions asked. I just have no way to find out.

Appstores need a simple Trial Mode. All the current hacks (In-App-Purchases, subscriptions, refunds etc) are just that, clumsy workarounds to this glaring omission, which is why app prices are so squeezed down - to the chagrin of indie developers. Trial Mode would also bring huge collateral benefits like reducing reliance on SaaS services (something that Microsoft in particular should relish) and creating viable alternatives to the free-to-play bubble that has turned online gaming into a socially-accepted form of gambling addiction.

I doubt Apple will ever introduce Trial Mode - they are the dominant player and have little incentive to change the rules; and Android is a far west where the Play Store is almost irrelevant. But Microsoft should experiment with something like this, while the Windows Store is still young and evolving. Both developers and users would love it, they have been asking for something like this for years.

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